Photo courtesy Liza Rosalez / Orange County SC
IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC took a 4-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday night at Orange County Great Park to take four points from the home-and-home series between the clubs that began on Wednesday night in Texas. Orange County (6-4-4, 22pts) took the lead in just the eighth minute when Richard Chaplow wove into the left side of the penalty area and cut back a cross, where Jeannot Esua arrived late to finish into the right corner from 12 yards. Jerry van Ewijk went close to doubling the lead for OCSC in the 24th minute, but three minutes later the hosts were awarded a penalty kick that Roy Meeus slotted into the right corner for a 2-0 lead. T.J. Casner went close from a free kick to pulling a goal back for the Toros (6-8-3, 21pts), but the visitors were unable to create many clear-cut chances to get back into the game in the second half as they finished with one shot on goal for the game. Orange County then added to its lead with eight minutes to go as Wuilito Fernandes put home a finish, and Zack Kobayashi added a fourth in the 86th minute to complete the win, wrapping up all three points for the hosts.
8’ – OC – Jeannot Esua (Richard Chaplow)
27’ – OC – Roy Meeus (penalty)
82’ – OC – Wuilito Fernandes (Dusan Stevanovic)
86’ – OC – Zach Kobayashi
Three Things That Matter:
1. Orange County took the lead in the first meeting of the home-and-home series on Wednesday night, but back on home turf it drove home its advantage to pave the way to an important victory as it pursues a place in the USL Cup Playoffs. OCSC is now undefeated in six games, going 3-0-3 in that span, and is looking set to make the sort of run that will result in a top-eight position soon, and maybe even better later.
2. One of the keys to the second meeting between the clubs was going to be how they adjusted after the opening encounter. In the end, three players who saw limited action proved crucial in Orange County’s victory as Jeannot Esua and Roy Meeus – both of whom started on the bench on Wednesday – and Jerry van Ewijk – who was serving the final game of a suspension – all played important roles in the win. Esua and Meeus provided more than just goals, as their ability to get forward on either side of the field helped Orange County link play well, while van Ewijk quickly got back into the flow of things as he created a pair of chances while also going close with his only shot of the night before being substituted with 14 minutes to go.
3. The Toros continued to stick to their guns, but are now looking up at Orange County in the standings below the top eight in the Western Conference, and are going to need some kind of turnaround soon to get their season back on track. Things don’t get easier for the Toros, either, with first-place Real Monarchs SLC the visitor to H-E-B Park on Wednesday night for their next outing. There are still plenty of games remaining for RGVFC, but the pressure to put in a run is now on.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Richard Chaplow, Orange County SC – Chaplow ran the center of midfield confidently, and provided a great run and cross for the opening goal of the game to send OCSC on its way to victory.
Orange County SC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – July 29, 8 p.m. ET, Orange County Great Park
Rio Grande Valley FC vs. Real Monarchs SLC – July 26, 8 p.m. ET, H-E-B Park